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‘Jane Doe' killed in SUV accident near Salton City

May 26, 2001|By RICHARD MONTENEGRO, Staff Writer

SALTON CITY — An unidentified woman, possibly an undocumented immigrant, was killed in a single-vehicle accident near here on Highway 86 Friday afternoon.

As of presstime Saturday, the Hispanic woman thought to be in her 40s, was listed as a Jane Doe when no identification was found with her personal effects, Imperial County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Coroner Sgt. Rick Macken said.

The woman's autopsy was conducted Saturday afternoon. According to Macken she likely died from head and chest trauma sustained in the accident.

The accident occurred around noon when Ronald Helm, 37, of San Marcos, for unknown reasons, allowed the sport-utility vehicle he was driving north on Highway 86 near South Marina Drive to drift off the roadway, states a press release from the California Highway Patrol.

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Helm's vehicle struck a nearby guardrail and he swerved left across the northbound lanes of 86 in an attempt to right his vehicle. However, the SUV went into a sideways slide and overturned several times, the CHP states.

The dead woman was a passenger in the SUV, thought to be sitting in the front compartment alongside Helm, who received moderate injuries in the accident and was transported by ambulance to Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley.

Macken indicated Helm picked up the woman to give her a ride north. However, he said Helm claimed not to know the woman.

"(Helm) said he didn't know what her name was. … He said he was just giving her a ride," Macken said.

Macken added one theory being tossed about is the woman was an undocumented immigrant.

According to the Highway Patrol, Helm was wearing a seat belt while the woman was unrestrained.

Information on Helm's condition was unavailable Saturday.

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